Mazda CX-3 vs. Honda HR-V

By

Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009, and has seen himself published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also works as editor in chief for a large performance car online publication. His specialty lays in the high-performance realm, but has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Prior to being an automotive writer, he was an automotive technician and manager for six years, but spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

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, Automotive Editor - April 2, 2018

Mazda has quickly become a dark horse in nearly every class it competes in, even in the compact crossover class where Honda’s HR-V has been dominant. The Mazda in question is the CX-3, and it gets the best of the HR-V in many key categories, but can it hold onto its lead in the most important areas to pull off the upset of the HR-V?

Keep reading to find out.

See a side-by-side comparison of the CX-3 & HR-V »

What the CX-3 Gets Right

At $21,805 (destination fees included), the Mazda CX-3 rings in $360 cheaper than the HR-V. No, that’s not a huge difference, but it is enough to sway buyers in this highly competitive segment. In addition to being less expensive, the CX-3 also boasts the premium styling the Mazda Kodo design language provides. This spreads to the interior, which is aggressively styled but not too over the top.

While Mazda's zoom-zoom personality isn’t on full display in the CX-3, it is still in good supply. The 2018 CX-3 delivers tight handling in the corners and its 2.0-liter engine with 146 horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque gives it a bit more pop than the Honda. This engine also allows the CX-3 to squeak by the HR-V in fuel economy by one mile per gallon city – the pair are tied on the highway and combined scales.

Mazda has quietly become one of the safer automakers in the industry, and the CX-3 continues this tradition with its IIHS Top Safety Pick designation. The HR-V cannot match this rating due to its “Acceptable” driver-side small-overlap crash test results.

What the HR-V Gets Right

The Honda HR-V, though similarly sized as the CX-3, does a much better job with its cabin. Its 39.3 inches of rear seat leg room is 4.3 inches greater than what the CX-3 offers. Also, its cargo area, which hauls 24.3 cubic feet with the seats up and 58.8 cubes with the seats folded, easily beats the CX-3, which has a max capacity of 44.5 cubic feet.

The HR-V’s interior, while not as quiet as larger crossovers, it far quieter than the CX-3. Mazda claims to have fixed the noise issues, but we have yet to notice any changes.

CX-3 Is Perfect if Flying Solo

The Mazda CX-3 is a great subcompact crossover, as it delivers on so many measurables. However, its tiny rear seat and limited cargo room make it a tough sell to families. If you rarely need the rear seats, the CX-3 is the crossover for you.

Verdict: Honda HR-V

The Honda HR-V keeps the competition close in all the areas it loses to the CX-3, but it wins big in the areas that matter to families: cargo room and rear seat room. This it why it barely gets a win against the surging Mazda.

Take a closer look at the Mazda CX-3 »

Take a closer look at the Honda HR-V


Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009, and has seen himself published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also works as editor in chief for a large performance car online publication. His specialty lays in the high-performance realm, but has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Prior to being an automotive writer, he was an automotive technician and manager for six years, but spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

Follow On: Google+ | Website